AL senator introduces 'Thin Blue Line Act' on Capitol Hill

Published: Sep. 29, 2015 at 9:15 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2015 at 9:45 PM CDT
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The Thin Blue Line
The Thin Blue Line

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - They put their lives on the line to protect us. Now a new law is being introduced to protect them. Alabama Senator Jeff sessions dropped the "Thin Blue Line Act" act on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

"The alarming spike in violence directed against the men and women entrusted with ensuring the safety and order of our society must be stopped," said Sen. Sessions. "The Thin Blue Line Act will help protect our officers by bringing harsher penalties to criminals committing these vile acts and by extending the protections afforded to federal officers to our local police and first responders.

"When you protect the law-enforcement officer, you protect the public," says chief Allen Benefield. He has spent 50 years in law-enforcement, and now leads the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission.

"I remember working the streets in the 70s and remember a similar time when police were out of favor with a certain element," Chief Benefield said. "But we always have to remember that 95 percent of the public support law-enforcement, and are for law-enforcement."

The Thin Blue Line Act will serve as a constant reminder of that, imposing harsher penalties on those who target law-enforcement officers and first responders.

"We've seen some incidents, whether it's Ferguson or some of the other incidents around the country, that seem to have painted law-enforcement as some of the bad guys, which is the opposite of the truth," explained Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. He believes this is the right legislation at the right time.

"We can't do enough in this country to honor our men and women in law-enforcement," Strange said.

In Montgomery, it's been less than a year since a police officer was shot while responding to a shoplifting call at Walmart. He survived that incident. The last time a Montgomery officer was killed in the line of fire with 2006.

Current law says that if the murder victim was a federal law-enforcement officer or prosecutor, this fact should weigh as an aggravating factor in favor of the death penalty. The Thin Blue Line Act provides the same level of justice to local law-enforcement officers, prosecutors, and firefighters.

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